Riverside Press-Enterprise Series Looks at Medical Cost Increases
The Riverside Press-Enterprise on Sunday published a series of articles that highlighted efforts to control increasing medical costs. Summaries of the articles appear below.
- "Softening the Pinch of Care Premiums": People who have "felt the sting of soaring health care costs" are taking "common-sense" measures to "maximize their well-being while eventually keeping medical expenses down," the Press-Enterprise reports. Preventive care measures include receiving regular physical exams, immunizations and screenings; wearing seatbelts in cars and protective gear when riding motorcycles and participating in sports; maintaining a healthy diet and weight; taking vitamins; washing hands frequently; avoiding nicotine; and reducing stress (Schwartz, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/15).
- "Health in Their Hands": The Press-Enterprise examines consumer-driven, or self-directed, health coverage, which combines an employer-subsidized health savings account with low-premium, high-deductible catastrophic health coverage. The plans emerged in response to consumer "discontent" with managed care's "system of gatekeepers and restrictions on who can and can't be treated" and to demand for a health insurance option that "would compel people to take charge of managing their health," according to the Press-Enterprise (Schwartz, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/15).
- "Health Care Factors": Increasing health care costs are fueled by a lack of competition among California health insurers; low reimbursement rates; the "highly fragmented, bureaucratic" nature of the health care system; a poor economy; an aging population; the uninsured population's reliance on emergency departments for health services; a nursing shortage that boosts nursing wages; hospitals' shifting costs to cover uninsured patients' care; and the cost of new prescription drugs and technology, the Press-Enterprise reports (Schwartz, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/15).
The series also includes a time line detailing developments in health insurance markets since the 1950s and a glossary of health insurance terms. This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.